Learning to Fail Successfully Guarantees Success February 27, 2016 23:40

Learning to fail successfully is the foundation of the Homework Solutions' Method of instruction. Too many children are afraid to fail, because they don't see the value of it or know how to benefit from what it tells them. 

John Maxwell is a motivation speaker and success coach. His blog this week focused on developing grit in children and I wanted to share it with you. It is worth your time, so I hope you enjoy it. 

This Blog post was created by John Maxwell and can be viewed at his website at John Maxwell.com

"It turns out success has little to do with intelligence, personality, appearance and social standing. And the long-stand measure IQ is not difference between great and passable performance. Research today says,  all kids and adults are capable of success, but what we need is a better understanding of what motivates us in our pursuits. It’s not all about acting quickly and easily, it’s about who can get gritty and outlast the rest, the ones who make it despite challenges along the way.

Angela Lee Duckworth, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, studied cadets at West Point military academy, students in the Chicago public school systems and participants in The National Spelling Bee. In her research, she discovered that kids with solid work ethic, marathon-like motivation and self-discipline are the most successful. These are kids with what she calls, “a growth mindset,”This means they have the ability to learn and understand that they can change the outcome of a problem with effort. When kids realize that failure is not a permanent condition, then they keep trying and keep going. They get “grit.”

Grit as defined by Duckworth, is passion and perseverance on a daily basis. It is a belief ingrained in the mind that success takes years, it takes commitment and resilience to make a future dream a reality. Simply put, it’s living life like a marathon, not a sprint.

Through her research, Duckworth also debunked the misconception that the more talent a person has, the more successful they will be. She showed that talent is inversely related to success, meaning that kids with talent have more trouble overcoming challenges than those who accept their lack of skill in an area early on.

It becomes a choice of will. Being willing to be wrong. Being willing to start over. Being gritty.


How do you do it? How do you teach a tee ball team with a losing streak or a tune-deaf amateur piano player to try again? John C. Maxwell gives us four practical skills to hone as adults and pass down to the ones just a few steps behind us as we harness grit and resilience in our daily living.

1. STAY OPTIMISTIC.

Optimism is not naïveté. Expect that failure is an option and it’s one more “way to do something.” It might be a wrong way, but recognize that you’ve eliminated a method or approach that doesn’t work and therefore, you learned something good and valuable. Choose optimism and choose to keep moving forward.

Ask: What did I just learn and how can I use what I learned to make it better?

2. TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.

Failure generally doesn’t happen in a vacuum; others can always be pointed to or passed the responsibility for what went wrong. Owning our part in the breakdown will provide a moment for reflection, refinement and ultimately reward. Taking responsibility creates maturity, understanding and wisdom in the one who practices it.

Ask: What did I do to contribute to this situation and what can I do better next time?

3. REMAIN RESILIENT.

Move on and don’t look back. Remember what you learned, but don’t stay stuck on the pain of the present. Carrying the burden of failure overtime makes us weak to our problems. We allow failure to gnaw at us instead of having control over thoughts and feelings. Be mindful of comparison, rationalization, isolation, regret and bitterness toward others. These are signs that you’re getting stuck and you need to evaluate your thinking.

Ask: How am I thinking about this? What does my self-talk sound like? How can I force myself to stand up against it?

4. GET GRITTY.

Once you’ve reflected on your failure, it’s time to try again, and quickly. There’s nothing worse than time to let fear flourish. Recognize the reality of where you are and then act your way into facing your failure head on. Get back on your two-wheel bike, approach the person who’s gossiping about you, take the test again, try out for the team once more, and this time, be courageous, be bold, and get your grit.

Ask: What do I need to try again, and this time be ready to fail without fear?"

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